They've succeeded in breaking yet another cutting-edge news story on Sunday's front page: Beware, Mitt Romney is a Mormon.
At least, this is the message I took from Jodi Kantor's Romney's Faith, Silent but Deep, which amounted to little more than a disingenuous -- albeit subtle -- attempt at warning voters that Romney wants us all to be Mormon, and he'll make sure of it as missionary-in-chief.
I'll give the Times this -- far from being overt, they are quite clever in their Beware of Mitt the Mormon message, using the words of friends and colleagues in a carefully constructed manner that fits the theme of the piece.
Speaking of Romney, Kantor writes: Now, as the presumptive Republican nominee for president, Mr. Romney speaks so sparingly about his faith -- he and his aides frequently stipulate that he does not impose his beliefs on others -- that its influence on him can be difficult to detect. But dozens of the candidate's friends, fellow church members and relatives describe a man whose faith is his design for living.
The use of but in this excerpt changes the context of the sentences and sets the overall tone for the article. Romney's campaign claims his faith will not influence his politics, but it will and here's how, in other words.
Outside the spotlight, Mr. Romney can be demonstrative about his faith: belting out hymns ('What a Friend We Have in Jesus') while horseback riding... He prays for divine guidance on business decisions and political races.... Sometimes on the campaign trail, Mr. and Mrs. Romney retreat to a quiet corner, bow their hands, clasp hands and share a brief prayer, Kantor wrote.
Now, what the Times and the Ivory Tower folks don't know is that, while these words are the bane of many Times readers, mainstream America does not find devotion to Jesus or prayerful living as disconcerting qualities. But the newspaper takes it a step beyond Romney, applying his faith in his personal life; apparently, he'd like to convert us all.
I maintain that anyone being honest with themselves can see that this is not the case. When I look at Romney, I see a man who loves this country, a man whose deepest desire is to set this country on the right track -- economically, fiscally, socially, and otherwise. I do not see a man with a covert plan to wage a crusade and change our nation into the United States of Latter-day Saints.
I, however, am one of the deceived ones because how to apply the Mormon gospel in the wider world is the question that drove Mormon Sunday school classes, as well as Romney's personal life. But you, of course, would have to be Mormon yourself to recognize this.
When Mr. Romney's former Sunday school students listen to his campaign, they sometimes hear echoes of messages he delivered to them years before: beliefs that stem at least in part from his faith, in a way that casual observers may miss, the article continued.
So, as you can see, we are not part of the enlightened -- we are merely casual observers. After all, it is only the enlightened that can recognize the echoes of Romney's Mormon messages in his campaign. And it is these same Mormon principles that will be the guiding light of Romney's presidency to the detriment of logic. Kantor suggests that Romney applies this same blind faith to his daily life.
Sometimes Mr. Romney would report that even though he had made a decision on the merits, prayer had changed his mind. 'Even though rationally this looks like the thing to do, I just have a feeling we shouldn't do it,' he [Romney] would say, a fellow church leader was quoted saying.
But if the article is to be believed, Romney might be a heretic. The same article reports, ...many also see a gap between his religious ideals -- in Sunday school, he urged his students to act with the highest standards of kindness and integrity -- and his political tactics. The chasm has been hard to reconcile, even though people close to him say he is serious about trying to do so.
Whether Romney is a zealot or a heretic, we still only have a choice between two individuals this election: Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. When it comes down to it, this much I know: I'll take Romney's Mormonism over Obama's liberation theology any day.
Kayleigh McEnany is a writer and political activist who graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and studied at Oxford University. She is the founder of www.RealReaganConservative.com. She writes every Tuesday for the International Business Times.